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Hardball With Chris Matthews

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Boehner 12, Us 12, Benghazi 9, Washington 6, Rendell 6, Cymbalta 4, Obama 4, Clinton 4, Afghanistan 4, John Boehner 4, North Africa 3, Iraq 3, Mr. Potter 3, Cia 3, United States 2, Robert Bork 2, Usaa 2, Pennsylvania 2, Mullen 2, Newtown 2,
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  MSNBC    Hardball With Chris Matthews    News/Business.   
   (2012) New. (CC)  

    December 19, 2012
    2:00 - 2:59pm PST  

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thanks for being with us on this wednesday afternoon. don't go anywhere. chris matthews and "hardball" is next. getting serious. let's play "hardball." ♪ getting serious. let's play "hardball." ♪ getting serious. let's play "hardball." ♪ getting serious. let's play "hardball." ♪ getting serious. let's play "hardball." ♪ getting serious. let's play "hardball." ♪ good evening.
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i'm chris matthews in washington. let me start with this. getting serious on guns in the hands of dangerous people. the president's given vice president biden is month to deal with a lethal combination of semiautomatic guns, clips, mental illness, and a violent culture. it's the brew that blew in newtown, connecticut. is there something we can do? the fiscal cliff. the president now says we're so close it makes no sense to fail. let's see tonight how close is close and whether or not the grownups can bring this to a healthy conclusion. and back to benghazi. there are reports in the state department's being blamed here. didn't have the protection they asked for. did they keep asking enough? the report says no. but what if they had? would they have gotten the re-enforcements but the cia said they didn't want their cover blown? again, let's get serious. joining me now to talk about gun violence is martin o'malley and
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governor ed rendell. thank you for joining me. president obama spoke forcefully this afternoon about needing to take action on gun safety. let's listen. >> this time the words need to lead to action. we know this is a complex issue that stirs deeply help passions and political divides. we need to work making access to work on mental health care as easy as access to a gun. and any actions we must take must begin inside the home and inside our hearts. but the fact that this problem is complexed can no longer be an excuse for doing nothing. >> i've come to really respect you and the other governors and governor rendell because i watched it during sandy and what happened up in newtown. governors really are the responsible adults. they have to take care of their people. so in taking care of the people in maryland, what do you think is the most important thing? deal with the gun -- the issue
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of the semiautomatic weapons, the assault rifles, dealing with the high-capacity gun clips, the ammunition clips, or the mental illness piece, or the violent culture piece? what can you go after in a month? >> you have to go after all of those things simultaneously. school safety an issue. mental health access is an issue. but there is no reason why we should have military assault weapons any place but on the battlefield. and most of the hunters that i know agree. i mean, law enforcement is a piece of this. governor rendell who i know you're going to be talking to in just a second, he and i had the highest title in the land, that is mayor. we had to order police officers to go into homes and oftentimes they'd bring out assault weapons, these combat weapons that had no place in a civilized society. for their safety, if only for their safety, we need responsible bans and controls on
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these military combat assault weapons that play no purpose in a civil society. >> governor rendell, you're right in the heart of it up in pennsylvania as you and i know. how sensitive people are about the gun censorship. can we get something done here in terms of the assault rifles, the ammunition clips, et cetera sn? >> i think the answer is absolutely yes, chris. it just takes leaders and the president looks like he's ready to do something, to do something that takes a tiny bit of courage but not much. governor o'malley is right. there's no excuse. i was on tv with governor mcdonnell from virginia and i asked him give me one good reason why ordinary citizens should have semiautomatic rifles or clips that have more than ten bullets in them. and there's no good reason. there's no answer to that. we've got to get rid of them. we've got to make it impossible to buy a gun in this country, you can't buy it on the internet or gun show without going through a background check.
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we've got to tighten the existing law now that states have a duty to report to the national computer that does all these background checks when there are mental illnesses. but right now it's not being enforced because it's too vague. it has to be specific. if we do all those things, it's easy to do. because 74% of nra members in a frank lunce poll said they support that no one can get a gun without a background check. >> when you talk like this and talk common sense gun safety, they don't challenge it as much. they immediately go somewhere else and say how about another approach because they don't want to take on the gun lobby. here's governor mcdonnell talking yesterday. he's open to the idea of arming school officials. i think that's a separate question. but he offers that as an alternative to gun control. let's listen. >> if people were armed, not just a police officer, but other
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school officials that were trained and chose to have a weapon, certainly there would have been an opportunity to stop aggressors coming into the schools. if a person like that was armed and trained, could they have stopped the carnage in the classroom? perhaps. >> okay. you know what a .38 special is. a retired cop or something walking around. that's what they're talking about. a school teacher doesn't know how to use a gun. pulls out your cap gun, revolver, and you're up against an ak-47. what are they talking about here? or are they saying school teachers should have ak-47s? >> could you imagine even if the governor were only talking about security guards, school security guards. could you imagine at an elementary school what his gun belt would have to look like in order to repel an ak-47, a bu
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bushmaster. >> let me get back though issue. i think this is a dodge. i think it's talking about something against gun control because they don't want to talk about it. we can argue whether it should be a safety. maybe areas in crime areas it's good to have an armed guard. fine. we're talking about high powered rifles. we're talking about multi-shot ammunition clips where it's up to 30 or wherever. >> and we're also talking about something else. i think the president spoke to it today. and that is that sickness in our soul as a nation that is violence an the worship of violence. >> let's start on that then. okay. we can't stop there being mental illness. it's part of being born. every once in awhile people have these problems. you go to the movie theater -- i'm a movie nut. i'll pick the wrong movie and at the commercials that come on, prepreviews, there'll be six in a row of bang bang bang bang bang. some movies i think people go for the thrill of seeing a lot of people killed. how do you stop from doing it?
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>> ill all comes so pervasive in our society. >> how do you stop it? >> i think events like this, tragedies like this, we've all been changed by this to some degree. we find it too easy to accept one child being shot here and being shot there. events like this make us wake up. >> you going to stop people from seeing "django," "jack reacher" the movie by tom cruise? how do you stop people putting out idiot movies one person being kill eed after another? >> you can't. but the people suffering from mental illnesses so they can't go out and get assault weapons as easy as buying a piz say. it's ridiculous. there's no other nation on the planet that allows these weapons to be proliferated throughout our society as much as we do. there are few societies that bury as many children year after year after year from gun violence. >> governor rendell, what would be a good record for the
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president and vice president -- i know you've given thought to this. put your own brew together of ideas. you think there are ideas that could pass 50-some votes in the senate. something that would actually get done in honor of these kids and their parents who have had their lives permanently lost or permanently made miserable. what would be good that they could say come september at the end of this year. at least something good came out of this. >> ban assault rifles and redefine it. make it a broader definition than in the original act. two, no clip or magazine sold with more than ten bullets in it. three, gun show loophole closed. four, no gun sales on the internet anymore. and five, that adjustment to the mental health sets that i told you about. but chris, what we've got to get over -- and i like governor mcdonnell and think he does some good things, but he is being nothing but a coward and a wuss
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when he won't confront the question. give us one reason why any law-abiding american should have access to a clip with more than ten bullets in it or to a semiautomatic assault weapon. there is no reason. there is no answer. and the american people understand that. so governor mcdonnell should be leading. just like joe manchin. >> so imagine you're out in western pennsylvania, one of the west counties out there. jefferson, whatever they are. i don't know them all. but they're conservative counties. you know them all because you've been running out there. you sit there in a meeting and some nra guys are at the meeting. they say you're on a slippery slope. next you'll be after your deer rifle, they say. it's not a sliply slope. what do you say? >> no one wants to take away your deer rifle, number one. every one of our amendments are qualified. and number three, if you guys are so tough how come you
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opposed me in three state campaigns and i got elected by 10 points, 12 points, and 21 points. if the nra is so tough, how did i win? >> because the suburbanites love you. you didn't change their minds you beat them. >> >> in my first election i won 15 out of 67 counties. in my second i won 33 out of 67 counties. >> yeah. >> so they're not that tough. they are literally a paper tiger. they're the wizard of oz. >> that's because you're running against my brother and len swann. i'm just teasing. i'm teasing my brother there. did you find yourself successful as a guy who's known to be for gun control in areas of the state that are very tough on that? did you change any minds? did you manage to win minds over
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on this issue? that's where we are right now. >> when i ran for re-election, i carried counties and mercer county that are nra counties because i'd done other stuff. not because i convinced them about guns. and one last thing. and martin o'malley has done this consistently as governor. it's about time our elected officials risk their future. if you have to risk losing, risk it on protecting children. risk it on doing something incredibly meaningful to end this carnage. if you're not going to risk for something like that, then why are you in office? >> let me bring it back to that question. we had a senator joseph clark, a classic reformer. this is what killed him, gun control. it's for real. it can ruin a career. >> but our ability to grow as a people is also for real. our ability to evolve, our ability to look at the fact that our gun laws and the ability for
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people to purchase assault combat weapons makes us an anomaly in the free world. those are things we're capable of. growing in our understanding of one another and what we can do to put bad guys in jail, protect kids, and have sensible -- >> we meet here in september after this end of this session. do you think we'll have a bill that does something real and is signed? >> i do. >> governor rendell, will we get something done? >> i think we'll have it by the end of february, chris. >> well, that's optimism. i hope we get it done. it'd be great to have as a memorial to these -- i keep thinking what it was like to be five years old and we can remember it. we were real people with little bodies and big souls. santa claus was coming. we were very big in our hearts. and these kids -- it's just horrible to think about. the more we think about this the worst it's going to be. thank you, governor -- >> and chris, one of the mothers said the night of the memorial, one of the mothers said if we
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can pass sensible gun legislation, our kids won't have died in vain. >> and that is one hell of a price. thank you. happy holidays. merry christmas to you, governor o'malley. coming up, another big story. what's jane boehner up to with his plan "b"? raising taxes for those making only over a million. what about the first million they make? under his plan they're off scot-free. it's getting interesting here. plus an inquiry into the benghazi attack criticized the state department for failures in management. management deficiencies and inadequate security. it was that facility which was basically a cover for a cia operation out there. and that could be significant for secretary clinton. and now how about this little sugar plum. general david petraeus was the top commanding officer in afghanistan, he was being advised day to day by a couple of civilians with strong ties to
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the neo-con movement. of all people they were on the inside of a democratic administration. let's get to the bottom of that very weird arrangement. this was to be a battle between the neo-cons and progressives. and what does it's a wonderful life have to do with the fiscal cliff? well meet mr. potter. that's in the sideshow tonight. this is "hardball," the place for politics.
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robert bork has died the legal scholar served under richard nixon and fired orch bald cox in the saturday night massacre. he then served as a circuit judge for the district of columbia. he was nominated for the supreme court by ronald reagan in 1987. it was opposed by ted kennedy who took to the floor with a
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strong condemnation on his position. robert bork was 85. we'll be right back. if you think running a restaurant is hard, try running four. fortunately we've got ink. it gives us 5x the rewards on our internet, phone charges and cable, plus at office supply stores. rewards we put right back into our business. this is the only thing we've ever wanted to do and ink helps us do it. make your mark with ink from chase.
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and if you just pull back from the immediate political battles, if you kind of peel off the partisan war paint, then we should be able to get something done. >> redskins. welcome back to "hardball." that was president obama this afternoon, actually, speaking about the fiscal cliff. on the other end of pennsylvania avenue, house speaker john boehner plans to send his so-called plan "b" for a vote tomorrow. plan "b" would keep bush tax rates for everyone making under $1 million a year. how does this deal get done? joan walsh, there she is. and hendrick smith is author of "who stole the american dream." let's go right now. president obama called on republicans to cut and deal with
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him saying compromise is doable. let's watch him again. more on the president today. >> what separates us is probably a few hundred million dollars. the idea that we would put our economy at risk because you can't bridge that gap doesn't make a lot of sense. so i'm going to continue to talk to the speaker and the other leaders up in congress. but ultimately they've got to do their job. right now their job is to make sure the middle class taxes do not go up. and that we have a balanced, responsible package of deficit reduction. it is there for all to see. it is a deal that can get done. >> joan, it's a bit like a sumo wrestling match, a sport i know nothing about except what it looks like. two giant guys moving around each other not actually engaging. i get a sense that the president is pretty confident that he has the upper hand here. and i get a sense from boehner who really is a guy who gives it
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away, he could never play poker. this guy doesn't look like he wants to enjoy january in the middle of this stew. he wants it over with. is this something we're going to watch over the next 24, 48 hours to get the conclusion. the president's plane won't take off for hawaii probably until saturday afternoon at 3:00. there'll be the pearls if you will tied to the railroad tracks. and in the end they'll get a deal this saturday. because it looks like arithmetic at this point. it'll be $500,000 a year. how do you see it? you're a games person. you know how they're looking at this thing. >> you know, i'm not sure. we usually agree, chris. i'm not sure we see it the same way. john boehner appears to be going off his own personal political cliff. what he is doing if you just look back at the last few days, clearly it seems he and the president were dealing with each other in relatively good faith. they were compromising. they were both giving up things that were making their base unhappy. and then boehner goes to plan
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"b" and says they're going to vote on plan "b." now he's sticking to the plan "b" yed, except it sounds -- last thing i heard when i went in here is he's going to attack spending cuts. because he doesn't control his caucus, chris. he's getting such major blowback from his far right wing nut caucus that he can't bring plan "b" without spending cuts. once you get into spending cuts, it gets much more complicated to get that republican caucus to hold together. so i am not sure that we are getting closer to a deal here. i think that boehner is out of control of his people. >> rick smith, what do you think? do you have any thoughts that you could add to this deal and make it work if. >> boehner's in trouble. my rule of thumb whether i was covering arms control or politics, when you have serious negotiations going on. what's going on in private is real. what's going on public is a show. we're seeing a show here. boehner is trying to demonstrate
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with them -- >> like if they don't get the 218 tomorrow to basically cut off the tax cut at a million. if that doesn't work because they don't want to be known as the guys just looking out for the millionaires, then what's he going to do? >> i think we're going to go over the cliff. if you can't get him on this deal, then you can't get him on the deal he's got the president on. the president will push him to go further. i think he's saying even if we get this, we can't get it from the president and senate, we're going to have to go further. this is a bad deal for the middle class when you look at it. remember, the top 1% starts at $360,000. so boehner's giving a bye to the biggest part of the top 1%. second thing is he's putting off the cuts and therefore the automatic cuts are gone. and they're going to hit the middle class badly. and this is a stall to jump it into next year. so this is a desperation tactic.
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>> here's what the president said. after the president spoke, speaker boehner tried to sell his plan "b." before he starts talking, it basically says the bush tax cuts don't go into effect if you make more than a million. but it would go in effect over his so-called plan "b" for the first million. it's only after that that you'd be taxed. let's watch his explanation. >> right. >> republicans continue to work toward avoiding the fiscal cliff. the president's offer of $1.3 trillion in revenues and $850 billion in spending reductions fails to meet the test that the president promised the american people a balanced approach. and i hope the president will get serious soon about providing and working with us on a balanced approach. tomorrow the house will pass legislation to make permanent tax relief for nearly every american. 99.81% of the american people.
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then the president will have a decision to make. he can call on the senate democrats to pass that bill, or he can be responsible for the largest tax increase in american history. >> by the way, boehner and the republicans do their math differently than the president does. the white house proposal considers their offer to be 1.2 trillion in new revenues to $1.2 trillion in spending cuts. balanced. you write about the american politics getting hurt. and they sort of lost. lost is not the right word, but they lost. the president won. here boehner is trying to protect the top what? .21% in the fifth of a percent -- >> by his own numbers. >> yet 47% of people voted for republicans. i keep asking this question. 47% of the voters voted for that. the ones that aren't getting a
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piece of the action here going to realize that they are the palace guard for the top? well, they are. >> chris, this has been going on for 30 years. we've had a situation where we had wedge in the economic where the top took all the money in business and they left the middle class workers with an absolutely standard of living. then in politics we've had this. and we've had somebody go out like this, politicians. and sometimes politicians from both parties saying we're protecting the middle class when they're not. boehner just said if you watched his numbers carefully. we're going to let .81 -- we're going to let most of the 1% go. we're only going to hit the tiny top of it. >> back to you joan. why in the world do the republican rank and file -- a lot of these members of congress are not rich people. why are they defending the very top to the point they have to back to the tenth of 1% to they don't offend their friends.
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>> because that's who owns them. that's whose bidding they do. it's sad so many vote for them. but they get confused because the democratic party doesn't represent their interests either. i have concerns of my own about the details of what the president is going to concede. >> i know you'll have more as the days go on. that fight's coming. but i'll just go back to the audience here watching. 47% of the country defends the interest of less than 1%. and now we see in the final battle here when it's down to the short hairs and even then they're saying our number one job here is to defend 99.81 -- that's one fifth of 1% at the top they're going down for. thank you. good luck with the book. >> thanks. remember almost half of the members of congress are millionaires. >> i know. but the other half aren't. >> i know but it's amazing. >> don't get the idea they're
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all rich. i know four guys that live together. one gets the living room every night. thank you, joan walsh. i don't feel sorry for them. they have great jobs but they're not what you'd call rich. thank you. up next, someone needs to tell david letterman that mitt romney has already lost. you have to keep beating this guy like an old horse. letterman keeps twisting that knife into mr. mitt. and this is "hardball," the place for politics. [ fishing rod casting line, marching band playing ] [ male announcer ] the rhythm of life. [ whistle blowing ] where do you hear that beat? campbell's healthy request soup lets you hear it... in your heart.
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back to "hardball." now to the sideshow. we all know mr. potter. remember him from "it's a wonderful life"? he's the greedy businessman. definitely not known for his empat empathy. here's a refresher. >> now take this here to ernie bishop. you know, the fella that sits
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around all day on his brains. i happen to know the bank turned down this loan. but he comes here and we're building him a house worth $5,000. what does that get us? a lazy rabble in stead of a thifty working lad. >> well, mr. potter has made his way into the day bait to cutting for medicare and social security. check out this ad. it's john boehner meets henry potter. >> what will happen if house speaker john boehner gets his way on the budget? welcome to boehnerville. where the rich won't pay their fair share. our children's educations will be cut. medicare, medicaid, and social security will be put at risk. and the economic recovery would falter. call your member of congress and tell them to stand up for middle
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class families. because in america, everyone deserves a wonderful life. >> well, members of the same group responsible for that ad were here in washington yesterday, christmas theme in tow. >> we know some of the naughty folk already. we believe that speaker boehner is being naughty. we believe that eric cantor is being naughty. we believe paul ryan is being naughty. and we're going to make our way to the capitol building to let them know we got something from santa for you. it's a lump of coal. because you've been far too naughty! >> well, in a recent interview with "people" magazine president obama was asked what he learned from seeing the movie lincoln. and here he is. quote, as a rule if you're president of the united states, you should not compare yourself to lincoln. in any way.
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not everyone thinks lincoln comparisons should be off limits. when florida republican allen west was asked about his future plans after losing re-election to congress he said quote, always remember abraham lincoln only spent one term in congress too. david letterman is still finding ways to needle mitt romney even with the election over. >> i heard the strangest thing. i don't know if it's true. just before i came out here. it's weird because it has to do with the economy of the world and financial times and situation like that. i heard this. thanks to bain capital, santa's workshop is moving to china. what? >> still the bain of mitt's existence. up next, the benghazi report, hillary clinton's state department is getting the blame for bad management and inadequate security. that's ahead here tonight. this is "hardball," the place for politics. [ male announcer ] when it comes to the financial obstacles military families face, we understand. at usaa, we know military life is different.
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i'm hampton pearson with your cnbc market wrap. as fiscal cliff markets continue to stall, so do the markets. the dow falling 99 points. and the nasdaq and s&p shedding ten points. general motors to buy back shares of the u.s. treasury. and a very merry christmas in offices everywhere. 72% of executives plan to hand out holiday gifts. that's it from cnbc first in business worldwide. now back to "hardball." a damning new report from an independent investigation on the
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september 11th attack on benghazi in benghazi. criticizes the state department for quote, systemic failures. overall the report takes the department to task for failing to provide better security in the run-up to the attack. in the wake of the report, three state department officials have resigned including the assistant secretary of state for diplomatic security and his deputy. here's what the chairs of the investigation tom picker and and mike mowan had to say today. let's listen. >> frankly the state department had not given benghazi the security both physical and personnel resources it needed. >> the board found that the security at the compound was inadequate for the threat environment in benghazi and in fact grossly inadequate to deal with the attack that took place. the support the post needed was left to the working level to resolve.
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>> we've gotten more of that on the report and what it means for hillary clinton, perhaps, the secretary of state who heads that. andrea mitchell and david ignacious handles all these matters. he's also associate editor of "the washington post." i called you on this today because it baffled me. two apparently contradictory reports in the report. one said there were repeated requests to get security forces brought to that benghazi facility. then later on it said the people did not demonstrate strong and sustained advocacy for support. what is it? >> it's both. they repeatedly requested more security. when they saw there were budget cuts and officials rotated out, they didn't push hard enough. so they asked, they were denied, and then didn't come back to them and didn't rattle the cave. >> is all that passing of the
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buck -- is the real issue if they asked and asked and asked to the top, would they still have been given a significant military force there given the cia activities in that area? would they have been given what they wanted no matter how they asked for it? >> i don't believe so. i did ask that question of senator corker today who attended the classified briefing. i said was all of this because it was a low profile. they didn't need a consulate in benghazi. this was a mission, not even a consulate. but the real impact there was that they had a cia outpost that they had not informed the libyan militias about. one reason the militias could not go to help them. >> we couldn't have a strong contingent. >> corker said he doesn't think that is really the problem. he said he thought it just was a failure from -- at all sorts of levels. not at the top. they absolved hillary clinton.
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although she herself takes the responsibility. >> the night of in the horror of the attack, the peak of the attack, i hear from a lot of conservative people. they believe and have been led to believe that we could have gotten forces to that facility in time to save the ambassador and the other people. >> this report is quite clear in saying that whole line of argument that has been used by people on the right was wrong. it says the inner agency response was appropriate and timely. but they were not asked -- >> did we have forced protection? it was available and didn't bring it in? >> evidently there were not drones or ships. the terrible fact -- i think the report is too easy on the military, frankly. the terrible fact is there were no military assets close enough to protect those people on the roof of the anex who were killed by a simple mortar attack.
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>> seven hours after this started, the problem is that the north africa command that had been started appropriately because of al qaeda's growing influence there in north africa, buzz not located in italy or any place close to north africa. they couldn't get there in time. there was a drone that took pictures but it was unarmed. >> let's bring this to human terms. people like to find somebody responsible. there isn't always somebody responsible. sometimes things break. is it true they were tough in their report, the pickering and mullen report. but in the end are they saying this could have been avoided, really? >> yes, they are. >> if chris stevens wanted to go into a dangerous area, could he have been protected? >> the two phrases that admiral mullen used in the clip that introduced this segment, first there were inadequate sources there. there were requests for more forces. the state department didn't act in a timely way. the bureau which overseas that consulate, that mission, didn't act in a timely way.
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and the forces were grossly inadequate. an unusual phrase to use. >> partly to save money and partly to rely on the host. we don't have marines at these place. we rely on the libbians. they were not able. they didn't have a national government. they had these local militias that ran -- they have video for instance. >> why did you think it was safe going in there? >> that was part of his dna. he had been in benghazi during the entire civil war before he was ambassador. but we saw -- we had videos shown last week to the senate of the libyan militia getting into a pickup truck and high tailing it out of there at the first sign of trouble. >> will hillary clinton have to eventually face the lions on this? >> she will. let me make one more point, chris. one of the most important things in this report in terms of
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long-term consequences is it says the united states can no longer depend in high-risk areas on local security forces. meaning we're going to have to have our own forces either there or close enough. >> will they let us bring them in? >> no. this is the new normal as described in this. >> it means we can't be in these posts. >> it's the world it seems. thank you. thank you as always. i call you when i need knowledge. >> i come whenever you call. >> thanks. up next, david petraeus was supposed to be the top commander in afghanistan, so why was he being advised by fred and kimberly kagan? who won the last election? i thought the neocons lost. apparently they're running our war operations. this is "hardball." we've got some questions. we'll be right back.
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wow. president obama's job approval is at its highest point since the death of bin laden according to an abc news poll. 54% approve the job he's doing now. 50% say they approve of his job on the economy. that has to help as the president tries to nail down a deal with speaker boehner. time magazine named president obama today as its person of the year for 2012. we'll be right back. we're all having such a great year in the gulf,
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and don't forget our amazing seafood. so come to the gulf, you'll have a great time. especially in alabama. you mean mississippi. that's florida. say louisiana or there's no dessert. brought to you by bp and all of us who call the gulf home. we're back. david petraeus, the once general turned cia director revealed he had been engaged in an extramarital affair. today the washington post reports on another scandal albeit this one not albeit this one not involving sex. it has to do with some incredible acts of his. the friends were two civilians, prominent neo-concerned analysts. they were provided desks, e-mail access and top security clearance to pour through intelligence reports. according to the post, the
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four-star general made the kagans de facto senior advisors and numerous priority travel and highly secretive transcripts. the arrangement was quote strange and uncomfortable at times. rising sandra wrote in today's story in the post. and dave corn is the washington chief and msnbc political analyst. i love it when you make news. holy cow, i was about to say when i read the post front page today, as a student, in a very negative way of the iraq war, who's always suspected anybody who pushed that war, was pushing an agenda that wasn't necessarily for a good cause. the kagans, robert, kimberly, fred were seen in your newspaper all of the time. now we find out they're in bed
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with general patraeus who reports to commander in chief, barack obama? >> because, chris, four-star generals have a lot of leeway when they're out half way around the world. this arrangement wasn't well known at the white house, at the pentagon, by senior officials involved in the administration. certainly, if they knew, they would have objected. the extraordinary access that the kagans got. patraeus was able to do this just because he was the general and managed to get what i understand his lawyers to sign off on the arrangement which, you know, they got the security clearance, they got face time with him regularly, very influential approach there. >> who is patraeus of? he is part of the neocon crowd? is he one of them? those people that pushed us?
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let's put it this way, heavily encouraged the war in iraq? or is he part of the more progressive stream of the presidents which is very skeptical. is patraeus bart of them? part of the political other side, if you will? >> i don't think patraeus neatly fits in the world of neocons, but he certainly believes in the transformative power of the military. the kagans were very helpful to him with the intellectual architecture in the surge of iraq. they supported more forces in afghanistan, which is where patraeus was. they helped him sure up some of his feelings of republicans on capital hill who, by this point, were starting to get new doubts. >> i don't mind him playing a liaison role. it seems to me that you have a very interesting situation. i'm trying to think of a parallel, but i can't think of one. where people from the other wing
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or prospective of the country have found their way on a war front. >> we have these two think tankers. senior fellows. they burro their way in. neocons tend to be very good at burroing. they burro their way in and they create these wonderful details. lots of confusion. the chain of command. people don't know how to relate to them. are they spies? are they creating orders for patraeus? it gets to the big issue that we talked about earlier this year, which is david patraeus' judgment because he was america's greatest general since washington, you seem to be able to feel like you get away with thicks. he got into that scandal and this happens to be before that. but he feels he has a license to do things that other generals couldn't. >> let's get at the heart of the strategy which worked in iraq, i'm told. applied then to afghanistan. how are the kagans involved with
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that whole strategy. >> kagan has pushed a certain strategy in my newspaper and other newspapers. they were vocal proponents for it. and then they were proponents for taking a much tougher line against a various taliban factions. in fact, the irony here is while david patraeus was talking a good game on using troops to protect civilian populations, what the kagans were lobbying to do was to use those to conduct strikes. >> we'll redo more on this later. let me salute you. your story ment the test of ben bradleys. he said holy. i can't use the word here. this story, i want everybody tonight to go back and look it up on goog. this is a story of penetration. thank you much for joining us from the washington post. as always, we'll be right back. y
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let me finish tonight with this. i'd like to know while general patraeus was take k day-to-day advice from people on the other side of the iraq war argument. they share the ideology of those who backed the iraq war. why are they on the inside of an administration elected based on its opposition to the iraq war. i'm one of those who believed from square one that the war in iras